In life, every so often, we all go through a spring-cleaning phase. We get rid of the clutter in the garage, toss out clothes we know we’re never going to wear, organize the kitchen cupboards, and throw out the junk drawer full of expired coupons, and god knows what else. Clearing out the clutter allows for new beginnings. In with the new and out with the old!
Sometimes this applies to friends, and it’s never too late for children to learn that
It’s OK to let go of toxic relationships.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, healthy friendships support emotional and mental health. On the flip side, destructive or uninspiring relationships can be very harmful to our health.
Signs that Tell it’s Time to Release a Friendship
Each relationship takes work because friendships are not perfect. However, if your child is constantly complaining about a certain friend, maybe it’s time to explore if that friend is worth keeping.
So how would we realize when it’s genuinely time to release a friendship? The following are a couple of signs that can help give direction:
REAL Friends Don’t Bully – Repetitive Teasing is Harassment!
Who hasn’t had a friend tease them a bit? I have, and if it’s funny, I laugh! But when a “friend” sucker-punches you in the stomach by hitting below the belt, red flags should go up. If these punches become repetitive, it’s time to do some evaluating!
To reflect upon the friendship or your child?
Valid feelings should not be ignored, especially when someone wants to cause harm. A friend(s) that constantly makes your child feel awful about themselves should not be considered a friend. However some children are sensitive, and the slightest joke might make them very angry; this is a time to evaluate your child.
We can’t go through life, cutting off friends at the very first joke, but some friends just don’t need to be in our lives.
Changes in Friendship
Friendships change; some kids want to hang around other friends, leaving your child feeling neglected and left out. Sometimes, the new friends become the bully to your child, and the original friend does nothing to intervene. There are thousands of instances where friends, ultimately, become the bully or support the bullying.
How can you help as a parent?
As parents, we should constantly check in with them and not overlook their emotions.
1. Ask Questions
Ask questions like, “How’s Monica or Antonio?” and “What did you guys talk about?” If your child becomes offish or is emotionally down, you may need to dig deeper. The more awful a friendship gets, the worse they will start to feel.
True friends must make your child feel liked, appreciated, happy, and confident.
2. Give Them Courage
It may take some courage to walk away from friends, people they may have known for years or a short time. Just ask them, “Is it worth it?” It also may be scary letting go because they are afraid of being alone; being alone in school can be a very miserable experience in itself.
3. Build Self-Confidence
Teach your child to be bold and confident. Tell them to smile while walking down the hallway, even if they are not smiling on the inside. Teach them that their integrity and self-worth are way more important than trying to keep someone happy who doesn’t care for them at all.
With confidence, new friends will come.
Spreading Secrets and Talking Behind Their Back
Having someone come up to your child to talk about something, only a true friend would know is heartbreaking. Friends should not be repeating anything that is told in confidence. Needless to say, everyone deserves forgiveness, but if this mistrust happens frequently, it may be time for your child to reevaluate this friendship. Teach your child that it’s OK to forgive, but true friends don’t discuss your private business with others.
Why do Kids Backstab?
It is difficult to reason why a friend would backstab your child. But children are human beings, and there could be several reasons.
Jealousy is one, children that notice that a friend is prettier or smarter than them can become resentful.
A resentful child who wants to be your child’s friend but still has a bit of envy may become a backstabber. They may act out and do silly things such as talking to a girl/boy that your kid likes or do the things they swore they would never do like talk to a “sworn enemy”. They may spread vicious rumors to destroy your child’s reputation which may make your child feel betrayed.
What are the Consequences of Backstabbing?
At the point when a true friend backstabs, the pain might be overpowering. These types of behaviors can be considered emotionally bullying and can be just as severe physical bullying. It can feel even worse when it comes from a friend.
When is the Right Time to Cut Ties with a Backstabber?
Your child may need to cut ties with friends that constantly express this type of abusive behavior. Talk to your child; ask, “Is this forgivable?” If it’s forgivable, tell your child to speak out to friends by saying, “This can’t happen again.” Let them figure it out by asking “Is this friendship worth it? It’s your call.”
Leave the decision up to them, but let them know they are worth it.
Tell them, “I respect your decision, but real friends don’t treat you this way.” Give them space; they will start to feel valued if you continue to tell them they are valued.
Your kid should leave toxic friendships as friends are there to help them, to be loyal to them. If they are backstabbing them, then it is the right time for them to let them go.
What is a Real Friend Really? Let Them Know
Every child deserves someone who encourages them, lifts them up, makes them laugh, and keeps them looking forward to tomorrow. That should not only come from parents but from true friends as well.
A friend’s actions should always coordinate with their words. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to reflect on the friendship.
What is an Acquaintance?
In some cases, maybe a “friend” may just need to be an acquaintance. Teach them the difference.
An acquaintance is kept at arm’s length and deserves less trust with personal information.
Acquaintances are most often seen coincidentally, such as in the hallway or at another friend’s house unintentionally, instead of formally making intentional plans to see each other. With an acquaintance, you will say “hello,” ask surface-level questions about school, homework or a test, and move on. Acquaintances are not people you discuss personal details or serious topics with.
An example of an acquaintance is a generic classmate or is the friend-of-a-friend who you never hang out with unless a mutual friend is also present.
Acquaintances can be healthy, as long as it’s positive and not toxic like the things mentioned above.
What is True Friendship?
A true friend is someone who is there for you no matter what, makes an effort to help when you need it, and can be depended upon to keep secrets.
In a close friendship, you share a special bond and spend the time together doing the things that no one else would do with you.
Laughing uncontrollably during the good times and shedding tears together during the bad times.
True friends can always apologize and forgive when things go wrong. True friendship is not emotionally abusive and never physically abusive. If there is constant turmoil within a friendship, then maybe that friend should be a respected acquaintance or nothing at all.
Genuine friendship is a promise that is made in the heart —unwritten, unbreakable by separation, silent, and unchangeable by time.
A Lifelong Friend or a Lesson?
At the point when you trust an individual, no doubt, you’ll get one of two outcomes — a friend for your life or a lesson.
In any case, there’s a positive result.
Your kid might accept the way this individual care about them, or they get the chance to remove them out of their life and prepare for the individuals who do. At last, they will find who’s phony, who’s real, and who might risk it for them.
Love implies allowing somebody to hurt you yet trusting them not to.
A Valuable Lesson
First things first, if a person or a child value their self-worth, another person never will. So, first, they need to set aside the effort to make themselves valuable to everybody in their life. When your kids offer yourself to somebody who doesn’t respect them, they surrender their self-worth to them.
There comes the moment when your kids need to give up and quit chasing individuals. If somebody needs them in their life, they will figure out how to put them there. They have to let them go.
It is the right time to get rid of those friends who don’t value your kids.
In case the friendship is making your kids unhappy or miserable, it’s an ideal opportunity to say goodbye to the individual. No one should ever allow themselves to feel used or trapped to being treated less than they deserve.
If somebody is humiliating your kids, competing with them, not caring about them, belittling them, making them question themselves, or just not thinking about them, remove negativity from their life as quickly as possible. They must respect themselves and get rid of them.
Who Does Your Child Need?
Never permit somebody to cause your kids to feel needy for care, love, and support. They need somebody who will tune in and possess all these characteristics:
- The ability to offer insightful guidance
- Interests in similar things
- Can be trusted to be faithful to them
- Believes strongly in your child and their capabilities.
In short, they just need somebody who causes them to feel like they are somebody.
Choosing to get rid of a friendship is never an easy decision. In any case, if you focus on the signs listed above and more critically, to your heart, you’ll inevitably know what to do. Understand whether a friendship is serving your kids or need to work through some other issues identified with the friendship that your kids have.
Talk to your child. Have them outweigh the pros and cons of the friendship that they are having trouble with. Writing these things down will allow them to vent in a healthy way.
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